NONTHABURI, Thailand – Ten Southeast Asian leaders will bring home some souvenirs, particularly special football jerseys, after attending summit talks in Thailand.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders received blue jerseys with their surnames at the back after forging an agreement with FIFA on football collaboration last Saturday.
During the signing ceremony, President Duterte and Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah got jersey No. 10 as heads of states, a number associated with the great football players.
Seven other heads of government of Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, on the other hand, got No. 9 shirts usually worn by strikers. Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo was the only leader with the No. 21 jersey, that indicated his country as host of the 2021 Under-21 World Cup.
The football shirts were handed out by FIFA President Gianni Infantino to the ASEAN leaders onstage. Duterte was the last leader to receive a jersey during the ceremony after his numbered shirt was momentarily retrieved from the FIFA staff.
Under the MoU, ASEAN and FIFA agreed to cooperate on promotion of sports integrity, sports for development, FIFA’s Football for Schools Program, and professional capacity building.
The MoU marks the establishment of a formal cooperation between the two entities to leverage the roles of football in social development in ASEAN. They aim to place football as a catalyst for social development, including through promotion of healthy lifestyles and values of sportsmanship.
The agreement was signed by Infantino and ASEAN secretary general Dato Lim Jock Hoi during a ceremony witnessed by the regional leaders at the Impact Convention Center here. (Genalyn Kabiling)